6 Smart Hiring Practices for Hourly Workers

By Michael Klazema

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6 Smart Hiring Practices for Hourly Workers









In the broad sense, it might seem like hiring practices are hiring practices, no matter what type of job you are trying to fill. But the strategies you use in recruiting, screening, and hiring might be different for hourly jobs than they would be for full-time salaried positions. These types of jobs are going to draw a different pool of candidates, with different levels of experience than what you might be used to. As a result, it's a good idea to keep the strategies below in mind while designing a hiring policy for hourly workers. From building your applicant pool to screening your final candidate, these strategies span the entire recruitment and hiring process and will help you choose the right hourly workers for your business.


1. Rethink your job posting spots

Where do you post jobs for full-time salaried employees? If you are like most businesses, the answer is probably some mix of professional networking sites like LinkedIn, professional job boards related to your industry, and job aggregate sites like Monster and CareerBuilder. For hourly workers or less specialized positions, your potential applicants may or may not be networking on LinkedIn looking for jobs, and they almost certainly don't know about your industry-specific sites. Instead, target your recruitment efforts elsewhere—whether that means posting on Craigslist or setting up the good old "Help Wanted" signs around your local area.


2. Rethink the "job qualifications" list

When you're used to hiring salaried employees, you're also used to making big-picture qualification requirements for those jobs. "Must have a Bachelor's degree in [insert major]" and "Must have at least two years of industry experience" are not uncommon phrases on job listings for full-time positions. Usually, hourly jobs are for less intensive or less skilled positions. Indeed, hourly jobs are frequently filled by teenagers notching their first employment experiences or students working to help pay for college. As such, there is a good chance that much of your hourly applicant pool will not have the qualifications that you normally ask for in an employee. That's not to say that finding a person with relevant experience is impossible for hourly positions. Rather, you shouldn't view a lack of experience as a make-or-break factor. Everyone needs to get experience somewhere. If you interview someone with no experience but a lot of passion and willingness to work, an hourly position is a perfect way to give them a chance.


3. Simplify the application process

The people looking for hourly positions are generally not the ones looking for lifetime careers. As such, your candidates probably aren't going to be willing to put in the time or effort to jump through a ton of hoops. If you have a long and confusing application, you are going to scare away some good prospects. Even requiring a cover letter might cost you some candidates, depending on what the job is. Think about the opportunity and what kind of application makes sense for that job. A simple two-pager with standard questions about work experience, references, skills, and education might be enough. Put your application on your website and make it mobile-friendly, so applicants can fill it out and turn it in on the go. Anything you can do to simplify the process will grow your applicant pool and give you more great candidates to consider.


4. Use the interview to get a sense of character

As mentioned above, a lack of education or experience might not mean a person isn't a great hire for an hourly position. If the job at hand does require specific skills, you might focus the interview process on testing those abilities. However, if the job is not terribly specialized, you can use the interview to focus instead on character, attitude, friendliness and rapport, interest in your company, and other similar factors. Try to get a sense of who your applicants are, whether or not you would enjoy working with them, and whether or not they'd fit well into your team. For many hourly positions, answering these questions is actually more important than thinking about experience or education.


5. Don't skip the background check

It's not uncommon for businesses to run background checks only on their full-time employees, leaving hourly workers, contractors, and seasonal employees un-vetted. But while hourly workers might not be as "important" to your business as higher-up salaried employees, they can still make mistakes on the job that lead to negligent hiring suits, PR disasters, or losses for your business.

A cashier, for instance, would be an hourly employee in the vast majority of cases. Say your cashier had a history of violent crimes, but you didn't check for criminal history because you never vet your hourly workers. If, one day, the cashier snapped and attacked a customer, you could be held liable due to your negligence. Between legal fees and settlement costs, your business would lose a lot of money and face a PR hurdle along the way. Running a background check could have helped you make a smarter hiring decision and avoid the entire mess. A very similar scenario could happen with a contractor or a full-time salaried worker. It's important to remember that, no matter what "kind" of position you are filling, the person you hire is going to be a face of your brand. Every person you hire can help your business or hurt your business, and running background checks is one of the best ways to keep the latter outcome from happening.


6. Don't rush the process (but don't take too long either)

You should never rush a hiring process. If you don't feel like you've interviewed the right candidate yet, keep looking. With hourly workers, though, it's smart to try to be a bit quicker with the process than you would be for hiring a salaried employee. A salaried employee can stick around for years if you get the right hire, but hourly jobs tend by their definition to be a bit more temporary. Therefore, spending less time and less money on your hourly employee hiring process is a smart idea, because there's a better chance you will have to do the whole thing again in the not-too-distant future.

For many smaller businesses, particularly in the service industries, hourly workers are the heart and soul of the company. These employees might not be managers, supervisors, presidents, or CEOs, but they are hugely important to your business and how customers perceive their brand. By mastering the art of hiring hourly workers, you can boost your customer satisfaction and loyalty levels—two factors that will benefit every facet of your business for years to come.


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